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May 17, 2010 11:53 AM

2 NYC hounds headed for Vancouver - itinerary suggestions needed please

Hi Vancouver ‘hounds!

2 hounds from NYC are heading your way for our Memorial Day weekend (last weekend of May, i.e. in 10 days). One night in Whistler, where we will likely be eating Italian at one of Umberto Menghi’s restaurants, Il Caminetto or Trattoria. Then back to Vancouver for 3 dinners and 3 lunches. Here’s an outline of a plan – please add/subtract and give me any thoughts or cautions. We love seafood and asian food of all kinds, are not afraid of dives, and also love cocktails!

Saturday dinner: Vij’s, with drinks while we wait at West.
Sunday dim sum – Lin's? Long's Noodle House? Will I be really upset if I don’t trek out to Richmond? (no car, hotel right downtown)
Sunday dinner – izakaya crawl – we are good walkers. Can you please recommend specialties/don’t miss items at the following?
- Guu
- Hapa
- Zakkushi
- Kingyo.
Monday lunch – maybe Go Fish? Maybe Fuel/Refuel?
Monday dinner – fancy seafood dinner for a birthday, maybe at Coast? What about Blue Water?
Tuesday early lunch or brunch (2 pm flight) - haven’t seen a lot on brunch – what about Slickety Jim’s?

Other places we might try to swap in/add on: Salt, the Bins, Bao Bei/the Keefer, Café Artigiano, Japadog.

Thank you so much!

Vij's Restaurant
1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

Long's Noodle House
4853 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3R9, CA

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  1. I could be wrong, but I don't think Slickety Jim's ever re-located after it burned down last fall.

    1. Without a car, the trip to Richmond is almost easier than the trek to Refuel or, say, Baobei. It's a straight shot from one of the downtown stations and in twenty minutes, you'll be a 1-5 minute walk from the best places in Richmond. So, don't cross it off the list for that reason!

      13 Replies
      1. re: DylanLK

        Sounds like a pretty good list -- I've rambled a bit after each entry:
        Saturday dinner: Vij’s, with drinks while we wait at West: and you will wait on a summer Saturday :-).
        Sunday dim sum – Lin's? Long's Noodle House? Will I be really upset if I don’t trek out to Richmond? (no car, hotel right downtown) -- I've never been to Lin's or Long's for dimsum -- both are predominantly Shanghainese with arguably two of the best renditions of XLB (soup dumplings) in Vancouver; neither strike me as a good bet if you are looking for Canto style dimsum. Also neither opens till 11 if that makes a difference (and both are closed on Tuesday). As Dylan says, if you are anywhere even remotely close to a Skytrain station you will be able to get out to Richmond in not much more time than it would take you to get to Lin's by bus, and Long's would take (pardon the pun) longer still. There are a couple of downtown options too that I'm not familiar with that get some love here.
        Sunday dinner – izakaya crawl – we are good walkers. Can you please recommend specialties/don’t miss items at the following?
        - Guu -- kabocha krokke, nama shibori wari to drink, and a piece of Japanese cheesecake for dessert
        - Hapa -- I haven't been for so long the menu has changed (there are now three locations); I found it a bit too fusiony for my tastes but I'm sure others have fave items; I think the ebi-mayo would be a safe bet
        - Zakkushi -- things on sticks, things on sticks! I love the tsukune and the green things wrapped in bacon (don't worry the menu has pix)
        - Kingyo -- haven't made it there yet
        Monday lunch – maybe Go Fish? Maybe Fuel/Refuel? -- try Go Fish if the weather is nice but call ahead and get it to go or you will be waiting in a lineup as long as the one you were in on Saturday night at Vij's; if it's raining, head to Refuel (the restaurant has little natural light so I prefer it for dinner myself) -- note they have their famed burger on special from 3-6 pm if you happen to end up there later.
        Monday dinner – fancy seafood dinner for a birthday, maybe at Coast? What about Blue Water? I'll let others weigh in as I tend to be disappointed by "seafood" restaurants here (born and bred here, no less) and will just go for Japanese or Chinese when the marine creature urge hits
        Tuesday early lunch or brunch (2 pm flight) - haven’t seen a lot on brunch – what about Slickety Jim’s? The Jim did indeed burn down last year. The reason you haven't seen much on brunch here (IMO) is that Vancouver is not really a brunch town, at least not compared to other places I've been (Toronto, San Francisco). I do love brekky/brunch and keep a list of suspects so if you are looking for something in particular, post more details. In the meantime, Crave on Main is a more than decent option that would give you a nice sendoff, especially now that their little patio is open for the season:

        Other places we might try to swap in/add on: Salt (nice idea but expensive for what it is IMO), the Bins (decent to very good tapas, tiny, only open for dinner), Bao Bei/the Keefer (both seem to get more love around here for their drinks, which is reasonable in the second but a bit disappointing in the first -- I haven't been to either), Café Artigiano (not as good as it used to be but convenient as it is now a chain that seems to be popping up on every corner; I prefer Wicked, Elysian or 49th Parallel), Japadog (worth trying for sure, especially if you get lucky and hit a stand when the lineup is not egregious; I love the okonomiyaki dog


        Vij's Restaurant
        1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

        838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

        871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

        Long's Noodle House
        4853 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3R9, CA

        1. re: grayelf

          Thanks so much, grayelf and DylanLK! I think that Richmond is totally reasonable, now that I have looked into the SkyTrain.

          Re: brekkie: I read something about "the Jim" that involved Stalin, a duck, huevos and benedict. It sounded glorious. In general, if Mexican breakfast (huevos, bfast burrito) is not available, I will have benedict. My hound-buddy hates eggs, so loves it if there's also a burger or pancakes on the menu. Crave seems like a good option for the back pocket, or maybe I'll just wait till lunch?

          Re: fancy seafood... what would you turn to in the Japanese or Chinese realms? The fancy sushi place where you should get the omakase? (Tojo's, I think)? Other suggestions?

          Thank you so much!

          1. re: cmk000

            For Chinese seafood - Sea Harbour, The Jade, Empire Chinese Cuisine - all in Richmond. Chinese seafood provides the biggest bang in the fresh seafood department here. You an also try Go Fish - a fish shack at the edge of Granville Island. - already mentioned above.

            For Japanese (ie sushi) - a bit of a minefield to recommend favourites these days. Lots of decent sushi here, but not one truly "great" one. Tojo's is controversial on this board. Scan through the last couple of weeks on this board for sushi recommendations. Blue Water has excellent sushi, but very pricey. Same with Lime, though a bit more reasonable. Sushi Hachi in Richmond is also very good. Quite a number of good neighbourhood joints too.

            Downtown is peppered with sushi - but most of the places are quite bad. A few decent ones...Aki (for sushi - bit more known for its traditional grilled fare), Kaide, Miku. Just outside of downtown - Octopus' Garden, Shiro, Yuji's (though a bit more izakaya-esque),

            1. re: fmed

              I actually like Crave better for brekky/brunch but that is probably because it is hard to find good places for that meal here. The Jim (or Slickety's, or the Chat and Chew) had an amusing, or annoying, menu depending on your point of view. I liked it all right but the lineups became so insane I gave up well before it burned down. I've heard that both Dona Cata on Victoria Drive (far from your hotel; T-Sat 9-2) and Tacos Mexico Rico (much nearer your hotel) are serving Mexi-brekkies but I haven't tried either. I liked the Mexi-brekkies (okay, I need to stop using that term) at Zocalo but it burned in the same fire as The Jim. Deacon's Corner might be a good spot for your chow pal as they have other things than eggs (a heart-defying bacon sandwich for one thing). It's a nice diner in a dodgy part of town. Another thought (since you say you don't mind hint'o'dive) is the Argo. It's in a funny part of town with nothing else terribly nearby and caters to a wide array of humanity. The neat thing about it is that they serve pretty high end stuff for lunch (duck confit anyone?) for around a tenner, as well as the usual diner fare, well executed. It is only open M-F from 7 to 11 for breakfast and Lunch 11am-4pm. And if you want something more upscale, you might consider Cafe Medina (hmmm, short ribs for breakfast) but once again 'ware lineups. Also they stop serving breakfast items at 11 or 11:30. They do nifty coffee there and the Belgian waffles though miniscule are tasty. It also has almost no signage -- if you go just trust that it is where Google tells you it is :-).

              Fmed's given you some good ideas re Chinese (I really like Sea Harbour but it is harder with only two people... I guess that goes for most Chinese restos though). I eat most of my seafood raw as sashimi or in sushi -- my current favourites are Kibune (they do a stellar uzusukuri) and Dan (based on two visits, one old and one recent). Lime is also good I think though they get a bit carried away with "fusiony" cooked items -- stick to the raw stuff (also did I not read that they lost their head itamae recently? fmed?) Sushi Hachi in Richmond (not the one in Kerrisdale) is excellent with some unusual offerings but really small and only open a few hours a night -- resos in advance essential, like call now. Also the entrance is not on Odlin, that is where the parking lot is.

              Kibune Sushi Restaurant
              1508 Yew St, Vancouver, BC V6K3E4, CA

              Tacos Mexico Rico
              309 Pender St W, Vancouver, BC V6B1T3, CA

              Argo Cafe
              1836 Ontario St, Vancouver, BC V5T2W6, CA

              Dan Japanese Restaurant
              2511 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K, CA

              Medina Cafe
              556 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B2L3, CA

              Deacon's Corner | Gastown Diner
              198 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA

              Sushi Hachi Japanese Restaurant
              8888 Odlin Cres, Richmond, BC V6X3Z8, CA

              1. re: grayelf

                Glad to see someone recommending Dan. It is a great neighbourhood spot. Tuna chili sashimi: mmmmm.

            2. re: cmk000

              A board member & a friend have both said the Huevos at Habit Lounge @ 10th & Main street are very good. They also serve breakfast til 3pm. Lunch starts at 11 so if you wait til then you both would be happy. Apparently the bennys are good too. I am going next week & will try the venison sloppy joes.


              1. re: ck1234

                Hey, that's a great tip, ck! I always forget about Habit (to the OP: it was closed because of a fire too but obviously reopened -- this is quite an incendiary area). I didn't even know they had started serving breakfast, and at 9 am too. That is so on the list. Though I don't think I'll try the huevos rancheros as it says the tomato sauce is smokey, which prolly mean chipotles which I don't love. The other items look v. tasty. I'm always up for a new Benedict experience :-).

              2. re: cmk000

                Vij's is heaven.

                Skip Artig. Go to 49th Parallel. As a Seattle coffee snob living in Van, I am so grateful to have 49th. It's one of the best coffeehouses in the Pacific NW, and easily surpasses all others in Van. (Though Wicked and Elysian are still quite good-- Wicked brews Intelligentsia and Elysian brews 49th.)

                Synesso-- the elite espresso machine manufacturer-- only tests with Stumptown and 49th beans.
                Also 49th bakes Thomas Haas croissants and scones on-site. Perfect pairing.

                Also, Vancouver is not a city for Mexican. The first place I hit when I'm back stateside is the taco bus.

                I'd agree that Medina is Van's best brunch. (Sister resto Chambar is also serves up some exceptional moules et frites.)

                At Kingyo, kirashi, sashimi, and the tuna and avocado carpaccio. The stone grilled beef always looks terrific, but I haven't yet had it. Also they've got tasty hot pots, I'm not sure which one we had.

                If you're in the west end and hungry for ramen, hit Kintaro for the city's best. I crave it on cold nights. Open 12p-11p. Closed Mondays.


                Kintaro Ramen Noodle
                788 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L5, CA

                Vij's Restaurant
                1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

                871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

                Medina Cafe
                556 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B2L3, CA

                49th Parallel Coffee Roasters
                2152 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K, CA

                1. re: sophie.

                  Hey sophie, I didn't know that 49thP actually baked the Thos. Haas goodies on site, though I certainly know they have them (go early to get your mitts on a double baked almond croissant, OP).

                  1. re: sophie.

                    TY sophie, good report . in a pinch, medina's coffee arent bad esp with their in-house choc sauce. lavender chocolate latte's/machiatos. But really looking forward to the croissant and coffee at 49th parallel. wonder if they have the TH scones that grayelf fancies too?

                    there are lots of love for the newer Benkei, Motomochi(same owners as Kintaro), and the new darling Santouka. Which imho, are all better than Kintaro. But which ramen's variation and permutations are best can be argued and debated forever.
                    I find the tonkatsu broth a little too salty for my liking. To be fair I was at Santouka today and found the Spicy Toroniku really salty as well. Still feel the salt in my mouth hours later. And I have a high tolerant for salt.

                    1. re: betterthanbourdain

                      49thP carries the croissants and the scones from Thomas Haas, oh yes indeedy! The SO swears by the cranberry orange one but I like savoury in all things breakfasty... I will make an exception for the double baked almond croissants, though :-).

                      Holding out for the new Benkei on Broadway... dude was staining the exterior wood (why does that sound a little dirty?) on the front of the shop today... soon, Zoltan, soon.

                    2. re: sophie.

                      My husband used to live in so. california so he is *really* missing mexican food

                      His favorite place to get taco-fix:
                      1. Don Guacamoles on Robson Street
                      2. Salsa and Agave on Pacific Blvd

                      Salsa and Agave
                      1223 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6Z, CA

                      Don Guacamole Restaurant
                      1333 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E, CA

                      1. re: hapwit

                        Yup, slim pickings for good regional Mexican here. It's possible to find one or two things you like at a certain resto but nowhere really foolproof for me as yet. I'm fixing to post on a place I've tried four times that has promise but even it has weak dishes.

              3. When you are in Whistler, definitely hit up Elements for breakfast/brunch.
                It is one of the best breakfast places I have ever been to, and has the best eggs benedict
                (tomato,avocado, aged cheddar, with pesto hollandaise) I have ever had.

                1. downtown canada line to richmond stops in waterfront, yaletown AND on granville/georgia. prob one within walking distance from your hotel.

                  Lin's and Long's are not really dimsum place per se.... maybe save ur dimsum for a visit to richmond. Jade, Empire Seafood on Alexander. for canto dim sum in DT, Kirin on Alberni has some favorable reports. Though I haven't been in 3 years. Preferring the the 12th/Cambie City Square location. XLB in Lin's is good. But coming from NY you have great XLB's too.

                  Seafood feast for two would be hard at a Chinese Seafood Restaurant. Not huge fan of Coast or Blue Water, I suggest C's (though the recent departure of their Chef de Cuisine may be a small concern). Their menu is better suited for 2 people. And was one of my best seafood meal from last year. Loved the foie gras and scallops.

                  Re-fuel is hit or miss depending who is working the line during brunch. Cafe Medina does have an excellent brunch but be aware of long wait times to get a table. Like Crave, but the brunch selection is small only a handful of options and it is a bit away from DT.

                  Izakaya crawl would be great idea. just adding Kakurenbou, Wanoma and Toratatsu to your list. and mention that Guu Garlic as a common fav of the 4 or 5 locations locally. the new hapa in yaletown is where Shiru-bay used to be. And Shiru-bay i believe is now Toratatsu.
                  It's hard to get a handle of what is the best Izakaya. As many items are quick easy cooking items. So there are off days in all the kitchen with freshness and cooks etc etc.... Though I find meat on a stick at Zakusshi is the most consistent one.

                  For sushi:

                  For chinese seafood for two. Mean limited bellies. I take a look at the Chinese Restaurant awards(the last two years) and look at the individual dishes. See if a particular dish stand out to you. Kabocha and Crab Hotpot in sea harbor is a good one. there are lotsa seafood in season and available fresh, like the spot prawns, razor clams, crayfish..

                  Like Vij's, Café Artigiano(though fmed may have a better coffee recommendation) and Japadog

                  What have you planed for your Whistler portion?

                  838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

                  735 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L6, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: betterthanbourdain

                    BTB, I'd argue that XLB in Vancouver are far superior to NYC if Joe's Shanghai is considered the gold standard of XLB in NYC. I've eaten there and found that the dough was much thicker than those in Vancouver and the filling was only meh...even on an off day, I find Lin's to be much superior. Is there someplace else in NYC that I'm missing for XLB? Would love to hear your thoughts and reccos as I'll probably be there again soon.

                  2. sounds like a good spread is planned...

                    just a few quick notes.

                    1) it's worth the trip to richmond. all kinds of good food going on there.

                    2) my "would skip" list
                    - ReFuel: afflicted with "meh"nu-itis.
                    - Salt: a novelty in vancouver, but pretty run of the mill for any other city. [better --> it's sister tapas joint, Judas goat. In the same interesting spot "blood alley", but better food.]
                    -Hapa: solid but kind of uninteresting food. nice ambience though.

                    3) Kingyo is a big favorite of mine. It's much calmer than the Guu's, with more artful execution. Great food, never had a miss there.

                    4) Bao Bei is nice for comparison -- think Momofuko's younger sister. Good cocktails.

                    5) Go Fish this time of year is a good bet. Why? It's spot prawn season, and in nice Vancouver weather, one of the few places you can enjoy truck-vendor-food in the sun.

                    6) Miku is interesting -- and good. They pour Granville Island artisanal sake there, too. They have aburi sushi, and do some interesting flavor combinations. I'd skip the cooked menu (i.e. "pasta").

                    7) definitely japadog. there's always room for kurobota!

                    8) seconding/thirding the vote for Medina. however, just to throw in a different neighborhood, i'd consider bandidas on the Drive (commercial station). it is close in character/ethos to slickety's, without the "burned down" part. :)

                    happy eating, let us know what you thought of YVR's food scene!

                    838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

                    871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

                    Miku Restaurant
                    1055 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC V6E 2E9, CA

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: eatHHC

                      not to sound picky but the Drive is actually broadway stn

                      1. re: vandan

                        Even pickier, but so as to not cause confusion for visitors, Commercial Drive is serviced by the Skytrain lines at Commercial-Broadway Station. This is not to be confused with the Canada Line station at Broadway-City Hall.

                        I'll pitch in some coffee suggestions, here's a list I put together awhile ago, but I still stand by it - (new additions of spots I know could be worth it if you're in the area are the Everything Cafe in Chinatown, Michi in the West End/Robson, Thomas Haas on West Broadway in Kits).

                        1. re: peter.v

                          Saw this post yesterday and today dutifully tried out Thomas Haas today. Wow. Lovely service, good coffee and best scone I've ever had, ever. Better yet, with all the amazing treats on offer, the scone actually felt like a healthy, restrained choice.

                          1. re: waver

                            I am addicted to their asiago scones, in fact I think I will get one on the way to work :-). They are the best scones I've found yet in Vancouver, where savoury biscuits are scarce.